The Garden

Let’s be honest. Most of the time when we tell our friends we can’t join them for a movie this weekend because we’re broke, what many of us really mean is that we’ve spent all of our “entertainment” budget and have no more money left over for leisure, non-essential activities — until our next pay day. Even if we’re not one to outline a monthly budget, most of us look at the calendar and our bank account, and know when to stop spending so that the rest of the bills get paid that month, and there’s money left over to keep gas in the car. But how many of us have truly experienced being broke — you know, the “not waiting for the next paycheck,” kind of broke, but rather the “not knowing when, where, or IF there would be another paycheck!” I’ve been there. I’ve done that. I had the t-shirt and gave it away!

But in spite of not knowing at times how all the bills were going to get paid, and limiting my driving in order to save gas, one thing I didn’t have to worry about was keeping food in the house. And not just any food, but nutritious, and healthy food — vegetables, fruits, and even eggs, for absolutely FREE! You see, I took my own advice, even when I didn’t know I needed it. I had a friend who had a garden who grew an assortment of vegetables, many of which she herself didn’t even eat (nor could she have managed to eat it all even if she tried). What’s more, this friend grew up a farm girl, and had parents who still had acres loaded with apple, pear, cherry and peach trees; and gardens planted with everything from peppers and tomatoes, to green beans and purple peas. They also had a chicken coop with fresh eggs delivered almost daily. She would often bring me a dozen eggs or so when her mom sent her home with the extras their hens would lay; and at times, her mother would add in some of her fruits jams she canned from the previous year’s crops.

I remember my first time in their apple orchid. I brought back enough apples to not only share some with several friends, but also to be able to create apple juice, apple sauce, apple butter, apple pie, apple crisp, and apple salad, in between eating fresh apples as a refreshing snack! Of course, there were other veggies to enjoy, and I learned that there really is a taste difference between grocery store eggs and those taken from the hen to the table in less than 24 hours! I loved it. More than that, having FREE food that didn’t come from a box, a can, or a fast food restaurant was incredible! And to this day, this same friend has continued to be gracious to me from her garden; something I take full advantage of by cooking and freezing the tomatoes,  squash, green beans and peppers, as well as other treasures from the ground.

I encourage anyone going through a lifestyle shift, to find a friend who loves to garden, or create some space in their yard, or borrow space from someone else’s yard to plant a garden so that you’re able to sustain nutritious eating as a part of your life.

And that’s another way I learned how to catch raindrops in my water buckets!

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